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Plato Cave Revision AS

Friday, May 15, 2009
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Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of what might be represented in the Analogy of the Cave by the
following:
1) the prisoners, the shadows, the cave itself, the
outside world, the sun, the journey out of the
cave and the return to the prisoners.

Basically = (although you will need to be able to discuss critically the validity of the points being made in this analogy).

The Prisoners = The ignorant masses

The Shadows = The illusions we take for reality. The shadows are shadows of models rather than real objects. The prisoners are even further removed from reality. The fire, in this case, represents a kind of provisional good, which allows real world objects to be identified; however, this is not the true good, as it only provides enough light for belief.

The Cave itself = The paradigm within which we live - its all an illusion based on fallacy

The outside world = Truth and reality - knowledge for Plato resides in the world of the forms. The real world in Plato’s Cave Allegory corresponds to the world of the Forms.

The sun = The ultimate Good. It can never be directly observed but allows illumination of other things

The journey out of the cave = The painful realisation that what we have taken for granted is not reality

The return to the prisoners= The unwillingness of the majority to have their views challenged. We would rather believe in things that are un real because it is more comfortable.


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